I'm in a daze right now. When it wears off, I might have forgotten the details, so here goes.
Academic stuff first:
The defense went well. The presentation I gave this morning at the defense was the best one of all the times I've rehearsed it. I was able to answer all the questions raised by the committee to at least some degree. There were no random, totally out-there questions that caught me off guard, which was a recurring fear of mine. Basically, this was a textbook MA defense - I was well prepared, my committee was well prepared, and my thesis was tight enough to accept a few challenges here and there but ultimately stand on its own two feet.
Now for the behind-the-scenes stuff:
The girls came walking downstairs this morning, all dressed up and ready to go. Sometimes I don't give them enough credit for being aware of what is going on in my life. I had told them today was a special day for me, and why, but I was so touched that they remembered, and chose to honor the day by dressing nicely.
I had a friend of ours watch the girls and Sterling near the defense venue so I could nurse Sterling during the deliberations (after the defense/questions but before the verdict). I wanted the girls there, too, because goodness knows they've suffered enough over the last almost-three years of me being in an MA program. They deserve some manaqeesh and Perrier at the end of it. Also, I think it's important for them to see me in a different role than usual, and for my committee to know more about my family life. Healthy exposure all around.
Well, at about the 1-hour mark, as questions were winding down, I heard Sterling crying through the door of the conference room. I could tell it was his hungry cry. Poor baby! Fortunately, my committee heard it, too, and the questions wrapped up quickly. It was a strange way to end a thesis defense, but it was about time to finish up anyway. I left the room so the committee could deliberate, and took Sterling into the bathroom to nurse him.
But then, he wouldn't nurse! I could tell he was hungry, but he must have been able to sense that I was nervous and in a hurry. We were both just getting more and more upset. So I gave up and went back to the conference room to hear, somewhat anti-climactically since everyone else was already there, that I had passed.
We all hung out together for a while enjoying the refreshments. After a few group photos, it was over. Like I said, I'm still in a daze.
Now begins the process of making the few changes that were suggested (all very minor - more like tweaking the wording in a few areas) and running around collecting signatures and printing things out.
I hope I have something more profound to say after all this sinks in!
Me, my committee, and my kids. Would I have liked to be more svelte in these photos that mark this momentous occasion? Yes. But of "write a thesis, manage a household, and lose the baby weight," I could really only choose two. So you can see which two I chose. There is plenty of time for the other.